connect with kids – look them in the eye

When you talk to your kids (or any kids for that matter) how do position your body?  Hmmm, is that a strange question?  I have a good reason for asking, so give it some thought. ;)

such a simple trick for connecting with kids - and oh so important!

Do you stand tall over them and look down?

such a simple trick for connecting with kids - and oh so important!

Or do you squat down and look them in the eye?

The simple action of getting down on kid level will make for an even stronger connection in the conversation.  Don’t worry if you can’t squat.  There are lots of ways to get down to kid level!  Sit on a chair, sit on the ground, squat or kneel down.  Anything that brings you eye to eye.

such a simple trick for connecting with kids - and oh so important!

Look at Little M’s neck in this picture.  She has to lean her head way back to talk to her Auntie L.  Their faces are actually very far apart and eye contact is difficult.  Can you imagine talking to everyone like this?

such a simple trick for connecting with kids - and oh so important!

When Auntie L squats down in front of her, Little M easily shares her story face to face.  Getting down on kid level helps kids learn the important skill of eye contact while conversing.  It also show’s that you are ready to give your full attention.  Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful way to enter a conversation?

such a simple trick to connect with kids - and oh so important!

So I ask again, how do you  position your body when talking to kids?

More parenting tips for that will help you connect with kids

And that’s why I decided to say YES!
Limit Screen Time
Dinner Conversation

This post originally appeared on May 9, 2012.

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Comments

  1. says

    What a great post and a wonderful way to make it visual! One of my teaching mentors always said that working with children was great exercise because you have to do a lot of deep squats! Eye contact really is so critical. Thanks for pointing that out in such an effective way!

    • says

      Ha ha! When my son was little I joked with friends that they could just borrow him instead of joining a gym. Kids are a great workout!

  2. Jennifer says

    Great post! I have always done this, instinctively, even before I became a mom. I would always kneel/squat down with my nephew and niece when talking with them. It’s more pleasant for *me* to be able to look them in the face when interacting with them, let alone for them!

  3. says

    Appreciate the way you illustrated this post. We don’t realize how we come off to children. By getting down to their level we show them just how valuable they are instead of towering over them to show them how “powerful” we are.
    Sheri recently posted..Little Learning Garden

  4. lucy says

    The other day we had friends over who are professional clowns. Well as you can imagine, they started entertaining our daughter (16 months old) and eventually a dance-off occured. When my daughter realized that our friends husband was towering over her and she had to look up, she started to point to the floor motioning him to go down. This is something we taught her to do with our dog. So I am thinking that in her little head she said, “This guy needs to come down to my level and dance with me.” I have been trying to use this tactic with her because she tends to respond better to me if she gets into things (kitchen cabinets, closets, etc. ) and she will stop. If I tower over her it’s seems as though I am talking to the wall and she continues. So I do have to remind myself to get down to her level. Good advice.

  5. Emily Woodhouse says

    Hi Jillian! That’s a good one. I, myself believe that the most important thing in a conversation is to maintain eye to eye contact. Practicing it with your children will teach them this valuable lesson; which is needed for rest of the life.

    Nice post. Loved that.
    -Emily

  6. Whitney says

    Picking up a child in your arms is another great way to bring them to your eye level, and give them some love at the same time. : D

  7. Cassie says

    Thank you for putting this out there! It drives me crazy when I see parents reprimanding their children like a tyrant, hover above.

  8. says

    This is such a great visual way to remind us all to get down on the kids level! It’s a repeated theme in many language intervention programs, but this illustrates it so well!! Thanks so much for sharing it.
    Cheers
    Emily

  9. Jen says

    Wow! Thanks for those photos. I think we have all heard this advice, but when you see it, it is so clear why it is a good parenting practice!

    Thank you!!

  10. Kim says

    Great reminder. Especially since I’ve been trying to teach my children to use eye contact while talking to people. Thanks!

  11. says

    Of course, and wonderful visuals.
    When they get to be teens however, the opposite is true… a ride in the car is effective because there is so little eye contact!

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